An environment without cars is a true rarity in the world where noise and pollution have become part and parcel of modern life. And for those of us who love walking and cycling but prefer warm showers to icy wells and electricity to petrol lamps, it is a great compromise between present and the past.
So where are those hidden treasures, those places where you can cycle with your kids or send them to the shops without worrying about traffic? I am not talking remote villages and lands where only intrepid or rich can go. Look much closer, for that peace and quiet on a romantic break or family holiday lies just two hours from London Heathrow. The Croatian coast. Croatia´s car-free heaven.
Here you will find many small islands where cars are not allowed to go. Unije, the largest island of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago, prohibits cars because of its narrow streets, as do Silba and Susak islands who also form part of this archipelago. Susak is also known as “the sandy island” for it nestles a number of shallow sandy bays, a godsend for any parent with a small child.
Further south on the Dalmatian coast there are Zlarin i Prvić, two islands belonging to the Šibenik archipelago, and both without cars. Zlarin has not changed much since it was first mentioned 700 years ago and the fact that you cannot hear a horn or a car engine certainly adds to its charm.
And like every town worth its salt along the Croatian coast, Dubrovnik has an adornment of small but perfectly formed islands, just a short boat ride away. Among them are the two more carless islands, Lopud and Koločep, with the latter dispensing with roads altogether.